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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Thursday, August 8, 2013

Date published:
August 08, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Buys set to race for Burry Stander legacy at mountain bike Worlds

    Philip Buys will spearhead the South African men's challenge at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships that start on August 26, eager to do justice to the legacy of the late Burry Stander.
    Article published:
    August 04, 2013, 20:10 BST
    Cycling News

    South African prepares for championships on home turf

    Olympian Philip Buys (Scott Factory) is out to prove a point at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships at the Cascades MTB Park in South Africa starting on August 26. He is eager to ensure that his performance does justice to the late Burry Stander.

    The 24-year-old Buys recently raced the World Cup in Andorra. He'll continue preparations for Worlds at a training camp in Cape Town and then will head to Pietermaritzburg a week before the Worlds.

    For Durban-born Buys, who won the Cycling South Africa national mountain bike series title, the 2013 cross country world championships is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

    "I will never get a chance to compete in a world cross country champs on home soil, and racing on a track that I know well, so I want to take full advantage of this opportunity," said Buys.

    "Every track is difficult in its own way, but the Cascades track seems to suit my style. I race it at every opportunity, and the more you race it the more comfortable you feel on it," he said.

    Since the London Olympic Games, Buys has steadily climbed up the UCI rankings, and now finds himself ranked around 20th in the world, bringing with it preferential seedings at major international races.

    "It's quite different! When you start at the front everyone seems kinds shaky, while when you are seeded 70th and some way back, you have five seconds or so before you even cross the start line," he said.

    Illness hampered his early season World Cup campaign, but he managed a podium in one of the eliminator races. That has helped focus his training and preparations for the world champs.

    "I've got the power - I know that and the eliminator proves that - now I am working on my fitness. Since the Cape Epic, I have been focusing more on training and recovery and actually racing less."

    With a top 20 seeding, Buys is looking...

  • Atherton siblings seek world championship spoils

    Britain's Gee Atherton (GT Factory Racing) is looking to overcome his poor run of form in Pietermaritzburg after a string of good performances as he builds towards the UCI MTB World Championships.
    Article published:
    August 05, 2013, 21:18 BST
    Cycling News

    Rachel and Gee look forward to racing in South Africa

    Current men's and women's world number one downhill mountain bikers Gee and Rachel Atherton of Great Britain are heading into the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Pietermaritzburg later this month with high hopes. The pair previously won both of their respective elite world championship titles together in Val di Sole, Italy in 2008.

    The two GT factory Racing stars have been in imperious form this year, having won the first two UCI World Cup meetings of this year's season in Fort William and Vale de Sole.  Rachel also won the recent Andorra World Cup while Gee was second. The are now in the pole position heading into the calendar's pinnacle event which takes place in Africa's "Bike City" from August 26 to September 1.

    Despite Gee having raced in Pietermaritzburg a handful of times previously, this year's world championships will be the first time for Rachel will be performing at Cascades MTB Park, making it a little more difficult for her to get a grip on the conditions and the track.

    "I have never been to Pietermaritzburg. I've missed all the World Cup rounds there due to injuries, so I am excited to finally see the track!" Rachel said. "I have heard it's very pedally, and I have heard it's very technical up the top, so I am feeling good that those two things are what I love to race, like the rest of our team members."

    Despite his familiarity with the Cascades course, Gee has, however, had poor fortune in Pietermaritzburg in past with a third in 2011 his best results to go with a fifth in 2009 and fourth last year.

    "I've had some good races there, but...

  • Lechner poised to pounce at mountain bike Worlds

    Description: Italian national champion Eva Lechner comes to South Africa with a great chance of taking the UCI MTB title after her courageous performance at the World Cup in Andorra.
    Article published:
    August 06, 2013, 18:34 BST
    Cycling News

    Italian cross country champion hopes for medal in South Africa

    Current women's world number three cross country mountain biker Eva Lechner (Colnago Sudtirol) of Italy is no stranger to South African conditions and will be hoping to stake a claim for the rainbow-striped jersey when she takes part in the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg from the August 26 to September 1.

    The Colnago team rider recently completed the Andorra leg of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup and finished in a respectable third place overall in the elite women's category, the top performance even more impressive due to Lechner having been ill for the week leading up to the race.

    "After the World Cup in Andorra, I was quite tired," Lechner said. "I had been sick beforehand so I used all of my energy in the race.

    "In saying that, I think I am in really good shape physically and mentally at the moment, otherwise I wouldn't have ridden such a good race."

    Producing a result like that under the strain that she was under will give the 17-time Italian national champion an important boost ahead of the world championships.

    "After a week of being sick, I actually achieved more than I had expected because I was really close to another victory. Of course, I would have wanted to win but I am more than content with my result in Andorra."

    Lechner still has an event to compete in before the final phase of fine tuning for the world champs begins and her next race could well prove to be the final "dress rehearsal" for the big event in Africa's "Bike City" at the end of August.

    "There is a World Cup in Canada that I will be competing in first [Mont-Sainte-Anne - Ed.] and then we have got a team camp where we will polish up and get ready to head to South...

  • Australian team named for UCI mountan bike world championships

    Dan McConnell wins the men's race in Albstadt
    Article published:
    August 07, 2013, 6:43 BST
    Cycling News

    McConnell, Henderson, Buchanan, Hill, Brosnan among selections

    The Australian team for the 2013 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships has been named ahead of the event which runs August 26 to September 1 in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.

    Headlining the cross country selections will be London Olympians Daniel McConnell and Rebecca Henderson. Earlier this year, McConnell became the first Australian male since Cadel Evans in 2000 to claim a World Cup victory when he won the opening round in Albstadt, Germany. It was also a breakthrough in the sense that he had rounded-out the top-20 just once prior to his win on the muddy and slick course in Germany.

    Henderson took victory on the same weekend, winning the under 23 title. She has since taken three runner-up finishes and sits second on the individual standings.

    The pair will also line up in the team relay. Rowena Fry and Peta Mullens were both forced to withdraw their selections due to injury.

    Former world champions Sam Hill and Troy Brosnan, along with 2013 Australian champion Mick Hannah line up in the downhill while for the women recently-crowned BMX World Champion Caroline Buchanan and reigning national champion Tracey Hannah have received the nod.

    Buchanan will also have a chance to repeat her 2009 four cross world championship victory in September, having been selected in the six-strong squad. Teammate Joey Vejvoda earns his spot off the back of several top-10 finishes in the 2013 four cross ProTour Series.

    Mountain Bike Australia Executive Officer Tony Scott is pleased with the selections and is looking forward to the Championships which begin in less than three weeks.

    "The elite and under 23 athletes named here represent the best that Australia has to offer the world in mountain biking,"...

  • Davison and Wells wrap up 2013 Pro XCT titles

    Todd Wells (Specialized) riding in third place behind Jeremiah Bishop
    Article published:
    August 07, 2013, 17:29 BST
    Cycling News

    Specialized riders finish of series at Catamount Classic

    Riding on her home turf in Vermont, 2012 Olympian Lea Davison (Specialized Racing) used the crowd's inspiration to coast to victory at the Specialized Catamount Classic in Williston, Vermont  this weekend and sew up the 2013 women's title of the USA Cycling Pro Cross Country Tour (Pro XCT). Davison's Specialized teammate Todd Wells (Specialized Racing) captured the men's title in an exciting finish on the Catamount Classic course.

    Davison's win was her third straight victory on the Pro XCT tour as she solidified her place atop the Pro XCT women's standings with 1160 total points. Despite an off day on Saturday, Chloe Woodruff (Crankbrothers Race Club) held on for second place in the standings with 895 points, while Erica Tingey (Jamis) finished third with 752 points. Moving into the top five by virtue of their performances at the Catamount Classic were Judy Freeman (Crankbrothers Race Club) and Amanda Sin (Scott - 3 Rox Racing). Freeman finishes fourth in the standings with 691 points, followed by Sin with 614 points.

    Wells entered the Pro XCT final with just a 70-point lead on Jeremiah Bishop (Sho-Air/Cannondale), but outsprinted his rival for third place in a thrilling finishing stretch of the Catamount Classic to secure the title in the Pro XCT men's standings. Wells finishes the campaign with 1560 points to Bishop's 1455. The rest of the men's top five also remained unchanged after the dust settled at the Catamount Classic. Stephen Ettinger (BMC Mountain Bike Racing) holds down third place with 805 points, followed by Ryan Woodall (Top Gear Bicycles) in fourth with 660 points and Mitchell Hoke (Kenda/Felt) in fifth with 645 points.

    The performances by Davison and Wells secured the team title for Specialized Racing in the Pro XCT team...

  • US team named for mountain bike world championships

    Stephen Ettinger (BMC Mountainbike Team) did most of the chasing to bring back Finsterwald
    Article published:
    August 07, 2013, 21:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Thirty-five racers headed to South Africa

    USA Cycling announced on Wednesday the 35 riders that will represent the United States in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, at the 2013 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships from August 26 to September 1, and the three riders competing for the US at the 2013 UCI Four Cross Mountain Bike World Championships, to be held September 20-21, in Saalfelden Leogang, Austria.

    Cross country

    The three-man elite men's cross country team features two automatic selections - Stephen Ettinger (BMC Mountain Bike Racing Team) and Todd Wells (Specialized Racing XC) - and one discretionary selection - Michael Broderick (Kenda-Stan's No Tubes).

    Ettinger earned his automatic selection by winning the elite men's race at the 2013 US Cross Country National Championships at the Bear Creek Resort in Macungie, Pennsylvania., on July 20. Wells secured his spot by being in the top three of the US Professional Cross Country Tour (Pro XCT) men's standings. Wells topped the final standings with 1,560 points.

    Broderick, who also represented his country at the 2013 UCI Marathon World Championships in Kirchberg, Austria, on June 29, placed 25th in the men's race at the 2013 Pan American Continental Championships. He also placed 60th at the 2012 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships.

    The elite women's squad features three automatic selections (all Olympians) and a pair of discretionary choices. Lea Davison (Specialized Factory Racing XC), who earned an automatic nomination after winning the elite women's national championship, recently finished first in this year's Pro XCT women’s standings and is also sitting in 21st in the UCI’s overall ranking. Georgia Gould (Luna...

  • Bresset determined to defend her rainbow jersey

    The French national champion Julie Bresset does not have the fondest memories of the Cascades MTB Park after she only managed to finish fifth in the World Cup there last year but is hoping that 2013 will be her year in South Africa.
    Article published:
    August 08, 2013, 17:03 BST
    Cycling News

    Olympic champion continues comeback from broken collarbone

    The defending women's cross country world champion Julie Bresset (BH-SR Suntour-KMC) has had a tough season this year with a serious injury putting a halt to her World Cup season, but the French rider has been working hard to get back into championship form ahead of the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa from August 26 to September 1.

    The injury that Bresset picked up has been the major issue for her this year, but she is on the comeback trail having claimed the French national title in July. A 10th place in the last round of the World Cup in Andorra was her last result which suggests she is still heading back towards her best form.

    "This season has been very difficult for me," the Olympic champion said.

    "I broke my collarbone before the World Cup at the beginning of the season, and it's been really hard to get back in my best form quickly.

    "This season has not been what I expected after such a good year last year," she said.

    2012 was a great year for the French national champion who won the UCI Mountain Bike World Championship as well as the Olympic gold medal in the cross country. 2013 has not gone as smoothly, but that has not changed her goals for the world championships.

    "I want to be in a good shape for the competition," she said. "At the Worlds, the rainbow jersey is at stake, you only have one shot and you can wear it for a whole year if you win!" she said.

    There have been a number of solid performers in the women's cross country field this year, and Bresset is wary of the threat that these ladies will pose her. An event like the world championship means that the...

  • USA Cycling responds to US Cup's sanctioning withdrawal

    Lesley Paterson (Scott) wins the Bonelli Park Pro XCT
    Article published:
    August 08, 2013, 20:55 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Governing organization clarifies role of its Pro XCT, Pro UET calendars

    USA Cycling responded to the US Cup's rationale for no longer permitting its events with them. Last week, the US Cup, which organizes regional and national-level races, said it would no longer sanction any of its races with USAC, effective immediately. The US Cup has organized events that are part of USA Cycling's Pro XCT and Pro UET - the national-level cross country and endurance calendars, respectively.

    USA Cycling President & CEO Steve Johnson told Cyclingnews, "While we are disappointed to lose any events, we will continue to strive to improve the Pro XCT and Pro UET series with input from all of the stakeholders and our Mountain Bike Committee. These calendars feature some of the best mountain bike races in the country and provide a showcase for not only the outstanding venues of these events, but also a platform for the top riders and teams to display their talent."

    The US Cup pulled the plug on sanctioning to protest the lack of change to the controversial UCI Rule 1.2.019, which is set to go back into effect and be enforced on January 1, 2014. The rule prohibits racers in all cycling disciplines from competing in races which are not sanctioned by USAC or the UCI.

    The US Cup also took the opportunity of bowing out of USAC sanctioning to say that it didn't "feel compelled to support the USAC for its two series, the Pro XCT and Pro UET when they refuse to mitigate costs, promote the series or enforce proper course set up and on-site management. In fact, they don't even send a full USAC officiating crew to ensure a consistent management and feel for the events."

    USA Cycling offered to clear up what it called "a few misconceptions" about the events on its national...